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How do antidepressant drugs treat ADHD?

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Several types of antidepressants can treat ADHD. They're sometimes the treatment of choice for children or adults who have ADHD and depression.

Antidepressants seem to improve attention span, impulse control, hyperactivity, and aggressiveness. Children and teens who take them are often more willing to take direction and are less disruptive.

That said, these drugs generally don’t work as well as stimulants or nonstimulants to improve attention span and concentration.

Antidepressants have the advantage of a low potential for abuse, and there is no evidence that they suppress growth or contribute to significant weight loss.

Most of them work by boosting the levels of brain messenger-chemicals (neurotransmitters), such as norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine.

SOURCES:

Strattera web site.

Kapvay web site: "Monthly Prescribing Reference."

Food and Drug Administration.

American Academy of Childhood and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Medscape web site: “Once-Daily Guanfacine Approved to Treat ADHD.”

Intuniv web site.

Attention Deficit Disorder Resources web site: “Medication Management for Adults with ADHD.”

WebMD Medical Reference: “Should My Child Take Stimulant Medications for ADHD?"

National Institute of Mental Health web site: “Questions Raised about Stimulants and Sudden Death.”

HelpGuide.org web site: “ADD & ADHD Medications.”

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on June 11, 2017

SOURCES:

Strattera web site.

Kapvay web site: "Monthly Prescribing Reference."

Food and Drug Administration.

American Academy of Childhood and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Medscape web site: “Once-Daily Guanfacine Approved to Treat ADHD.”

Intuniv web site.

Attention Deficit Disorder Resources web site: “Medication Management for Adults with ADHD.”

WebMD Medical Reference: “Should My Child Take Stimulant Medications for ADHD?"

National Institute of Mental Health web site: “Questions Raised about Stimulants and Sudden Death.”

HelpGuide.org web site: “ADD & ADHD Medications.”

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on June 11, 2017

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